Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

The question in the minds of students: How to be future-ready?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Rapidly changing technology ,Higher education, challenges and opportunities


Central Idea

  • Intelligent Machines are revealing glimpses of a future envisaged long ago in science fiction as they steadily morph from human-assist systems to systems-as-human. The currently indispensable face obsolescence. The question in the minds of students entering college is this: How to be future-ready?

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Learn quickly to swim through these rapidly evolving times

  • Work at the edges of disciplines: Now, one not only needs to be competent in a major area but also learn new topics quickly and deeply and be able to work at the edges of disciplines, while innovating constantly.
  • Skills are new oil: Capability is judged not only by grades, but also by skills demonstrated in complex situations.
  • Rapidly changing times: Worth will also be measured vis-a-vis Artificial Intelligence. Critical and original thinking, quality communication, IQ-EQ balance, and ethics will remain important strengths for swimming through these rapidly evolving times.
  • Change is already in the air: Students and institutions are evolving, the former much faster, to assimilate advancements and prepare for the times ahead.
  • Colleges must enable students to follow flexible pathways: There are options for dual degrees, minors, specialisations across disciplines in their home institutions as well as certifications from worldwide venues. External experiences like internships in industry, academia, research institutions and start-ups add value to a candidate’s capability repertoire.


What is needed to prepare for entering the world?

  1. Move across disciplines
  • A combination of core and transdisciplinary professional competence: To be prepared for the future, one needs to learn new things quickly and thoroughly, constantly sharpening one’s cutting edge. This attitude needs to be ingrained at this stage.
  • Average performance and shallow knowledge are a recipe for disaster: It is also necessary to demonstrate personal excellence in a few relevant areas. Completing tasks well is really important.
  1. Learn to add value to machine intelligence
  • Grasp and utilise Automation effectively: Automation is not only relieving us of mundane work but slowly and steadily encroaching upon tasks meant for so-called intelligent humans and doing them better. One must effectively grasp and utilise it rather than fear and shy away.
  • For instance, learn from open sources: Many students are building amazingly smart systems using open-source platforms and off-the-shelf components with ambitions to take on giants.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence with consciously: Learning to add value to machine intelligence for solving complex problems better is the mantra here. For this, one needs to understand how it works, what are its current limitations and pitfalls, develop deeper insights and innovate. Blind usage of Artificial Intelligence could be dangerous.
  1. Learn to collaborate
  • Ability to work both alone as well as in a group: The next proficiency to develop is to be able to work both alone as well as in a group, to creatively ideate, lead and collaborate towards success. Often, people who work alone find it difficult working in a team and vice versa. Now both aptitudes are required.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit of sprinting is must: One requires a special bonding of steadiness with speed, constant ideation with dogged persistence. Such an entrepreneurial spirit of sprinting a long-distance race steadily, sometimes in a team, sometimes alone will be needed at every stage of a career, whether at the peak of success or in the trenches of failure.
  1. Remain human
  • Intellectual-emotional balance: Technology has an interesting way of transforming human beings into automatons without the victim being aware. With extensive usage, people begin to think and behave the way machines work. Therefore, a critical aspect to nurture is to remain human.
  • Learn to replenish the mind and body regularly: It is vital to nourish a soulful side through sports, arts, culture, philosophy and humanitarian work, not just as part of a curriculum, but as a passion where one can be blissfully immersed, forgetting everything else for some time.



  • In the rapidly-evolving world, the key to success is to be future-ready by developing a unique combination of skills that set us apart from machines. Colleges and universities must enable students to follow flexible pathways, combining core and transdisciplinary professional competence, completing tasks well, and developing personal excellence in relevant areas. By embracing these ideas and staying ahead of the curve, we can be confident in our ability to thrive in an increasingly automated and technology-driven world.

Main question

Q. The future of society is not as much dependent on whether machines will become human-like but more on whether humans will become machines. Discuss

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